Breaking the Cycle of Illiteracy and Poverty

Date: August 20, 2014 Category:

Primary Education for Rag Pickers

Project Leader: Dr. Sameer Prasad
In partnership with Indian Pollution Control Association (IPCA)

Locality and Target Population
National Capital Region (NCR)
Currently, schools are operational in rag pickers’ godowns in Delhi, Ghaziabad, Noida. Our partner NGO has a network of 40 godowns; we hope to expand in partnership. Rag pickers tend to hail from West Bengal and Bihar. Entire families are illiterate and subject to exploitation. Poor hygiene conditions are prevalent.

Storytelling and activity-based learning are used to educate rag-picker children.Disenfranchised rag-picker children find the traditional rote memorization style of study boring. To engage these children, we provide enriching stories and activities. Since the children have to work, we designed the classes to start after the children’s morning rag picking is finished.

Educating a child costs $75 per year. IPCA covers administrative expenses, and IDS funds cover expenses for an educational coordinator and teachers’ salaries, training, and educational supplies. Currently, we are providing an education to 152 children in five schools. Last year, only 55 children in two schools received an education.

Propagation and Growth
Serving 1,216 children in 40 godowns, each new school can be established and operational for a cost of $2,000 per school and serve approximately 30 children.

What We Know

  • Organizing rag pickers has led to doubling and sometimes tripling family incomes but has not necessarily improved literacy among community members.
  • Parents value the convenience of having IDS schools located within the rag-picker communities or godowns.
  • Rag-picker children have a short compared attention span in the classroom. Activity-based learning and storytelling is critical to in order to maintain their interest.

 What We Want to Know

  • Percentage of rag-picker children who will participate in mainstream government schools
  • Gender difference in educational performance and health
  • Role of literacy in improving health

To learn more about this project, go to Primary Education for Rag Pickers.